PFBC ANNOUNCES CONSOLIDATED STATEWIDE SCHEDULE FOR TROUT SEASON, BEGINS ACCELERATED STOCKING OPERATIONS, ADDS MORE CONVENIENT ONLINE LICENSE PURCHASE AND DISPLAY OPTIONS

HARRISBURG, Pa (March 16) – Amid concerns regarding the spread of COVID-19, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) today announced several changes to the 2020 trout season intended to protect the safety of the public and staff, while preserving the opportunity to enjoy the fun and recreational health benefits of fishing.

These changes, effective immediately, include consolidating the 2020 trout season schedule into a single, statewide schedule for all Pennsylvania counties; accelerating trout stocking operations and limiting volunteer participation; and adding more convenient ways to purchase fishing licenses online and display proof of a fishing license and boating documents on a digital device.

“Thank you to the anglers and boaters of Pennsylvania for their understanding as we all experience these changes together,” said Tim Schaeffer, PFBC Executive Director. “While our calendars may start to look a little different, one thing we can count on is that there will be a trout season and there will still be plenty of fish out there to enjoy. Working under unprecedented circumstances, our staff is committed to providing the quality fishing experience that we all expect.”

Statewide Mentored Youth Program and Opening Day

The PFBC will operate under a consolidated statewide schedule for all counties during the 2020 trout season. Under this revised plan, a single Mentored Youth Trout Day will occur on Saturday, April 11, and a Statewide Opening Day of trout season will take place on Saturday, April 18.

As a result of these changes, separate, earlier regional mentored youth and opening days will no longer occur in the 18 southeastern counties, including: Adams, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Franklin, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Perry, Philadelphia, Schuylkill and York. Anglers in these areas should revise their plans as necessary to adjust to the statewide schedule.

These changes, made by the PFBC under direction provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Pennsylvania Department of Health, are intended to reduce large gatherings of people and the number of anglers traveling into the regional area (18 southeastern counties), which is already heavily affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Accelerated Trout Stocking Operations and Volunteer Participation

2020 trout stocking will be conducted on an accelerated schedule, and volunteers will not be permitted to assist with stocking activities.

“We realize that many of our stocking volunteers look forward to helping us, but we must take these necessary precautions to ensure public safety during this vital period,” said Schaeffer. “Just as we’ve counted on our volunteers for decades to help us stock trout, we’re counting on them now to play it safe and stay home. We appreciate their service throughout the years, and we hope that we can invite them back to join us again very soon.”

To complete trout stocking operations without the assistance of the public, the PFBC will modify stocking methods for this year. Many PFBC staff are being reassigned from their normal work duties to assist with stocking fish into lakes and streams. In some cases, pre-season and in-season allocations of trout will be combined into single stocking events to increase the efficiency of stocking trips. Initially, stockings will be prioritized to deliver trout to regions of the Commonwealth that are predicted to be affected most severely by COVID-19 that could result in restrictions on travel.

Moving forward this season, trout stockings will be announced upon their completion, rather than in advance on the FishBoatPA mobile app and PFBC website (www.fishandboat.com). The change in stocking procedures will not result in any reduction in the approximately 3.2 million trout scheduled to be stocked statewide in 2020, and stocking will occur seven days a week until further notice.

“This change in our stocking approach is necessary to fulfill a critical mission of our agency and our obligation to anglers,” added Rick Kauffman, PFBC District 8 Commissioner. “We’re trying to get as many fish in the water as possible as quickly as possible while we still have the best access to waterways and available staff. While our methods may be different this season, people will have the same opportunity to get outdoors and fish, which has proven benefits to our physical and mental health.”

More Convenient Ways to Purchase and Display Your Fishing License, Launch Permits and Boat Registrations

To reduce unnecessary travel and social contact amid health concerns, anglers and boaters will be able to display their fishing license, launch permit, or boat registration renewal digitally on a phone or other mobile device as proof of possession.

This change will allow customers who may be unable to, or feel uncomfortable visiting a store to purchase a fishing license, launch permit, or boat registration renewal to make the purchase using the FishBoatPA app or computer through The Outdoor Shop (www.pa.wildlifelicense.comOpens In A New Window) and not have to possess a printed copy of the document. Upon purchase of a fishing license, a .pdf file containing an image of your license is provided and can be saved to a mobile device or computer. Similarly, with each boating related transaction, customers will receive a digital receipt that serves a temporary permit or registration valid for immediate use. Eventually, customers will receive validation decals and registration cards in the mail from the PFBC, which can take several weeks.

If approached by a Waterways Conservation Officer (WCO) in the field, the angler or boater would only have to produce the digital image of the license, permit or registration on their phone or mobile device. A digital copy of the .pdf, photo, or screenshot of your fishing license, launch permit or boat registration on your phone or mobile device will all be accepted as proof of possession.

Public Meeting on Health of the Susquehanna River Fishery

PA Fish & Boat Commission Susquehanna River Biologist Geoff Smith will make a presentation on the research findings and status of the health of the ecological and recreational fisheries of the Susquehanna River, including the concerns over fluctuations in the smallmouth bass and other species populations. Geoff did his undergraduate work here at Lycoming College and is very knowledgeable in the issues affecting fish in our local rivers and streams. The Susquehanna Chapter of Trout Unlimited encourages the public to attend and learn about the Commission’s important role in conserving our environmental and recreational resources and share their thoughts, concerns and ideas.
The meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 11 at 7:00 p.m. at the Covenant Central Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall, at the rear of 807 West Fourth Street in Williamsport (enter off of Campbell St.)

 

Susquehanna Trout Unlimited Presents: Meet Your PA Fish & Boat Commission

Susquehanna Chapter of Trout Unlimited will welcome PA Fish & Boat Commission Executive Director Timothy Schaeffer, Commission President Eric Hussar, and local Waterways Conservation Officers Emmett Kyler and Jacob Bennett at its February 12th public meeting. Mr. Schaeffer will lead off with a presentation on the strategic plan for the Commission. The public is encouraged to attend and take this opportunity to learn about fishing and boating programs and the important role of the Commission in conserving and protecting our environmental and recreational resources in our northcentral PA region, as well as to share their thoughts, concerns, and ideas with Commission officials. The meeting will be held on Wednesday, February 12 at 7:00 p.m. at  Covenant Central Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall, at the rear of 807 West Fourth Street in Williamsport (enter off of Campbell St.) For more information, please see our website at https://susquehannatu.com/.

Annual Fly Tying Class to be Held

The Susquehanna Chapter of Trout Unlimited is pleased to announce that it will be offering its annual fly tying course on Tuesday evenings starting February 4, 2020 and running through March 31, 2020.  The classes are free and open to the public and will be held weekly from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm at the Covenant Central Presbyterian Church, 807 W. 4th Street, Williamsport (parking and entrance at rear off Campbell Street).  The course will include an instruction manual and tools and materials needed to tie your flies during each session.  If you have your own tools, you are encouraged to bring them with you.  Beginners and all skill levels are welcomed and instructor will include notable local fly tyers.  Class size is limited to 20 students and is a first come, first served.  Last year’s class filled up quickly and was a big success.  You can register by sending an email to susuquehannatu@gmail.com.  Please list the names of everyone you would like to register, their experience levels, and contact information (email and phone number).  You can also register by calling Walt Nicholson at 570-447-3600.

Annual Watershed Summit to be held January 8, 2020

     The Susquehanna Chapter of Trout Unlimited will host its annual watershed meeting on Wednesday, January 8, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. The meeting is open to the public and state, county, and municipal officials. Its purpose is to share knowledge about the volunteer efforts and accomplishments of our area’s many watershed groups and the work of our conservation organizations and agencies during 2019 and their upcoming plans for 2020.    Local watershed organizations are being invited to report on their projects and activities over the past year and plans for the coming year. Additionally, we are inviting county conservation districts, academic institutions, and representatives of regional conservation organizations to discuss their programs that relate to protecting, preserving, and enhancing our local watersheds and streams.

We hope that you will plan to attend and listen to the sharing of this information to learn about the programs, successes, and challenges presented by our partnering organizations. Our past programs have been both enlightening and enjoyable. Together, we are certainly making a difference as we leverage our resources to achieve our common goals.

The meeting will be held in Fellowship Hall at the rear of Covenant Central Presbyterian Church at 807 W. Fourth Street (enter off of Campbell St.) in Williamsport. Ample parking is available in the lot behind the church. Please respond at your earliest convenience by email to walt.nicholson10@gmail.com. We look forward to seeing you.

You Are Looking At A Map Of Future Dumpsites For Conventional Oil & Gas Drilling Wastewater If Road Dumping Is Approved By General Assembly

The Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment recently released a map showing unpaved roads in Pennsylvania, each of which could become  new dumpsites, if the General Assembly passes pending legislation legalizing the road dumping of conventional oil and gas drilling wastewater.

The primary areas to be affected would be unpaved dirt and gravel roads anywhere there is conventional oil and gas drilling in the state.

Click Here to zoom in on the Penn State map to find your house.

The bills– Senate Bill 790 (Scarnati-R-Jefferson) and House Bill 1635 (Causer-R- Cameron) are both now in the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee– and are said to be on a fast track for action.

The above was taken from the Weekly PA Environment Digest Newsletter (November 18, 2019 Issue # 803). For more information, go to the article at http://www.paenvironmentdigest.com/newsletter/default.asp?NewsletterArticleID=48296&SubjectID=